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Forfeiting Freedom In Christ


I am a lover of music.  I absolutely love to play the guitar, and when time permits, I will once again become deeply involved in my music.


When I pick up one of my guitars, I can see that it has a very nice body.  The wood is beautifully constructed, stained to perfection.  Though it has a body, my guitar does not have a soul.  It has no power over me; God has given me power over everything through Christ and the Holy Spirit.


Using this guitar, I could play satanic worship music, and this guitar would be used for evil.  I could also play Christian praise worship, and this guitar would be used for good.  I have power over this guitar.


The cult headquarters in Jeffersonville, Indiana has a doctrine that some of you may be unfamiliar with.  At the Branham Tabernacle, the church where William Branham taught, this guitar (itself) is evil. 


All through my life, the pastor at that tabernacle (my grandfather) promoted a doctrine that was not according to scripture.  The teaching is this:  a ‘Christian’ should, not play my guitar, or instruments like it.


From an early age, I knew that this was a false doctrine.  I did not know by association this made this pastor a false teacher, and I did not realize that by association the man who this false teacher followed was a false leader.  Though William Branham told my grandfather to forbid his family to play these instruments, and from the platform the pastor spreads this doctrine, it does not align with scripture.  It’s strikingly odd that most in that same church also knows this is a false teaching.  Many of them own these instruments for themselves, but allow the false teaching to continue all of these years.


After accepting the REAL Gospel of Jesus Christ, by faith, I have accepted freedom in Christ.  I have allowed the Holy Spirit to speak to my heart, leading me in the path that Christ wants me to follow! 


Galatians 2 teaches us a lesson that many Christians today have forgotten:  The freedom we have in the Gospel of Jesus Christ.


While proclaiming freedom, many legalistic churches today have denied Grace and accepted Law – and not even the Mosaic Law!  They have accepted a new law that was laid by mischievous men!


Paul talks about the time when the Apostles first accepted him:


Then after fourteen years I went up again to Jerusalem with Barnabas, taking Titus along with me.  I went up because of a revelation and set before them (though privately before those who seemed influential) the gospel that I proclaim among the Gentiles, in order to make sure I was not running or had not run in vain.


Notice this:  Paul did not run with his revelation without first discussing it with men who knew the Gospel of Jesus Christ.  He privately discussed this revelation with those who were the most influential, and only then did he proclaim it to the Gentiles.  He said that he made sure that he was not doing this in vain.


But even Titus, who was with me, was not forced to be circumcised, though he was a Greek.  Yet because of false brothers secretly brought in—who slipped in to spy out our freedom that we have in Christ Jesus, so that they might bring us into slavery--to them we did not yield in submission even for a moment, so that the truth of the gospel might be preserved for you.


What we see in churches today is nothing new.  Paul is describing exactly what we have today: false brothers that try to bring the people back into some sort of slavery by imposing rules or laws instead of what Paul calls the Truth of the Gospel.  He says that he stood firm against them so that the Truth of the Gospel would be preserved for the Gentiles, for you and me!


And from those who seemed to be influential (what they were makes no difference to me; God shows no partiality)—those, I say, who seemed influential added nothing to me.  On the contrary, when they saw that I had been entrusted with the gospel to the uncircumcised, just as Peter had been entrusted with the gospel to the circumcised (for he who worked through Peter for his apostolic ministry to the circumcised worked also through me for mine to the Gentiles),  and when James and Cephas (Which is Peter) and John, who seemed to be pillars, perceived the grace that was given to me, they gave the right hand of fellowship to Barnabas and me, that we should go to the Gentiles and they to the circumcised.  Only, they asked us to remember the poor, the very thing I was eager to do.


So think about this.  Circumcision was part of the Mosaic Law.  Under that law, Jews could not fellowship with uncircumcised Gentiles, yet Peter, James, and John were “pillars,” and accepted Paul’s message (without Law) to the Gentiles!  Did they ask him to remember to make the women dress a certain way?  Did they ask him to make sure to separate himself from those who did not believe, or any of the other Laws that Moses gave?  No!  They asked him to remember the poor!


Now this gets very interesting.  It is an example of what a True Christian should do, and is the very thing that we are doing at this moment.  Paul stood for the freedom in the Gospel, refusing to be bound by the Law that had been made obsolete.  Though Peter is regarded as a saint, and though his writings are in the Bible, Paul stood up against even him to preserve our freedom!


But when Cephas  (Peter) came to Antioch, I opposed him to his face, because he stood condemned.  For before certain men came from James, he was eating with the Gentiles; but when they came he drew back and separated himself, fearing the circumcision party.  And the rest of the Jews acted hypocritically along with him, so that even Barnabas was led astray by their hypocrisy.  But when I saw that their conduct was not in step with the truth of the gospel, I said to Cephas (Peter) before them all, “If you, though a Jew, live like a Gentile and not like a Jew, how can you force the Gentiles to live like Jews?”


Think about this!  For you and me, Paul stood firm against even Peter!  He called the rest of them hypocrites!  Like today, these Jews were picking and choosing which of the Old Covenant Laws that they wanted to deny, yet were imposing other laws upon the Gentiles!  Paul called them hypocrites because they were not practicing what they preached!


Today, we have the exact opposite.  False teachers, Gentiles, trying to enforce Old Covenant Law on us, also Gentiles, when they themselves are not Jews!


So you ask, if these Laws are not our “boundaries,” how then can we be saved?  If you’ve “snipped out” verses in this chapter, it might be confusing!  But if you just continue to read, Paul answers this question:


To the Jews, Paul says this:  We ourselves are Jews by birth and not Gentile sinners; yet we know that a person is not justified by works of the law but through faith in Jesus Christ, so we also have believed in Christ Jesus, in order to be justified by faith in Christ and not by works of the law, because by works of the law no one will be justified.


Let’s repeat that last part:  “By works of the Law, NO ONE will be justified!”


Preachers today tell us to “clean up our lives,” and by this, they take legalistic doctrines from the Mosaic Law – and not even the entire Law – and impose them on the congregations!  They impose what Paul called “dead works!”  According to this statement by Paul, they are uselessly babbling in vain, because NO ONE will be justified by the things that the do! 


So how do we justify ourselves?  Keep reading!


But if, in our endeavor to be justified in Christ, we too were found to be sinners, is Christ then a servant of sin? Certainly not!  For if I rebuild what I tore down, I prove myself to be a transgressor.  For through the law I died to the law, so that I might live to God. 


Let’s pause here.  What did Paul “tear down?”  The Law!


This is a very solemn statement.  Paul says that if he rebuilds what he tore down, he would be a “transgressor!”  This means that every pastor in every legalistic church that has denied the freedom of Grace through Faith in Jesus Christ is a transgressor of the Law!


Paul says that he had “died to the law,” he no longer follows it!  Why?  Paul says so that he can “Live to God!”


Here’s how:


I have been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me.  And the life I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.  I do not nullify the grace of God, for if righteousness were through the law, then Christ died for no purpose.


Let’s repeat the last verse of this chapter.  It is the most important verse in the paragraphs if this chapter, because it is warning us of denying the Gospel of Jesus Christ:


I do not nullify the grace of God, for if righteousness were through the law, then Christ died for no purpose.


So I ask you:  Have we denied the Gospel of Jesus Christ by following men who tried to take away our freedom?  Have we decided to believe that Christ died for no purpose, thinking we have a “better way” than simple Faith in Jesus Christ?  Do we really think that we can live such a sinless life that we can do better than what Christ did for us on the Cross?  Do we even keep these rules?  How many watch television even though the false teacher told us not to?


Have we accepted the freedom in Christ, or have legalistic false teachers placed us in shackles?